Similar to human medicine, veterinary medicine can be expensive if you don’t have pet insurance (which we highly recommend nudge-nudge) or if your pet has unexpected needs like emergency or specialty care.
69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts but the average emergency veterinary visit is more than that. Emergencies are by nature, unexpected, which are very difficult for pet owners both, emotionally and financially.
Luckily, we do offer payment plans through third party partnerships that can take the financial sting out of your pet’s emergency or specialty care. Some might look familiar, like Care Credit while others are veterinary specific.
1. Care Credit
Care Credit involves a physical credit card that can be used for both veterinary care and your own human health and wellness needs.
On the human side, you can use it for vision care, cosmetic and dermatology procedures, dentistry, hearing care, and other specialties. And on the furrier, veterinary side it can be used for most of those things as well, making it a very versatile option.
Perhaps the biggest advantage it has over the other payment options is 0% interest for 6 months on purchases of more than $200. Which is to say, this is one of the strongest options to go with if you’re extremely confident that you can pay your balance off within the 6 month period.
Why do we recommend you be extremely confident? Because your APR after the 6 month period will be really high, we’re talking 25% or more, even with good credit, that is retroactive to the time of the transaction.
Some of the other notable downsides include a “hard-check” on your credit – which can lower it, a lower approval rating if your credit is not great, and your personal interest rate is not given to you up-front.
That being said, if you already have a Care Credit card, you use it like any other credit card and don’t have to re-apply unless you’re asking for an increase in your credit line.
Scratchpay is more similar to a personal loan.
Like Care Credit, Scratchpay also offers a no-interest rate option called the “take 5 payment plan,” but there is no guarantee of approval, and it’s only for a certain dollar amount. Luckily, Scratchpay offers lower interest rates, they have a higher approval rating, they run a “soft check” on your credit- which means it doesn’t show up as an inquiry if you are not approved, and they’re upfront with your personal rates.
The main downside being that if you’re not approved for the take 5 payment plan, in which you pay off your loan with 5 equal zero-interest payments, you have to pay interest on your loan each month.
3. Packs Achieve Wellness (PAW) Grant
Hopefully, most of you have heard about this option. It’s our very own 501c3 through the Veterinary Care Foundation that allows us to help the furry friends and their families that were not accepted by the other two payment options above.
Not unlike the other options, there are still some approval criteria that need to be met:
- The pet has a fair or better prognosis with medical intervention as determined by the veterinarian in charge of the pet’s medical care.
- The pet parents are unable to pay for a portion of medical treatment.
- The pet parents were denied by Scratch Pay payment plans or extension of Scratch Pay funds denied.
- The pet parent made a good and honest effort to phone a friend or family member for financial assistance.
- The pet parents were able to pay something towards care- unless extenuating circumstances are in play.
These criteria may seem a little strict, but we want to make sure that our grant aids the pets and families that need it the most, like Honey.
Honey is a small chihuahua mix that came into our Hospital requiring emergency care. Thanks to our Pawtners who donate to the PAW Grant, Honey and her babies were able to receive the surgery and care they needed.
If you want to see more about her story, or the stories of future pets that we help with the grant, check out our PAWtners Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PAWtners/